Photo by Joe Chitwood
Photo by Joe Chitwood
John and TJ Osborne (tap on images to enlarge)
The skies were clear and the crowd was in the mood to roar Saturday with John and TJ, the Brothers Osborne, and Chris Stapleton at the Nebraskaland Days Summer Jam concert.The floor of the Wild West Arena was jammed with rowdy fans and the grandstand two-thirds full when the brothers from Maryland performed songs from their albums, stopping only long enough to change guitars and talk a minute to the crowd.
They showed their versatility, mixing country rock, bluegrass and blues with strong guitar licks by John and dynamic vocals by TJ. In their hour-long set.
Backed by a four-piece band with driving drums, a blasting bass and an organ player that complimented guitar leads, the show provided the audience with a rich full sound.
As the Oborne's band belted out uptempo tunes, people clapped their hands, stomped their feet and sang along to the music.
When they played the Dixie Chicks' hit “Goodbye Earl,” it was met with cheers. Willie Nelson’s “Whiskey River Take My Mind” led to an extended guitar solo by John.
Fans came from near and far. Tanna Duckworth and three friends traveled from Fremont for the show. She said they made a lot of pit stops on the four-hour drive, " but here we are on the front row. All of us have been to North Platte before, but this is our first time to Nebraskaland days.”
Another group said they drive from San Diego every summer to visit friends and attend the concerts. A group of people from Denver have attended the concerts every year, ever since Toby Keith performed.
The brothers closed their set with “Stay a Little Longer” and “It Ain’t My Fault,” followed by another rocking guitar solo.
By the time the stage was rearranged for Stapleton, an hour and 15 minutes had passed. The audience grew restless and began to clap their hands, urging Stapleton to take the stage.
Once he arrived, they were not disappointed. Just as the Osborne Brothers did, he put on a great show that displayed both his vocal and musical skills. For the next 90 minutes, he treated the crowd to his blend of southern rock, bluegrass and country blues.
Backed by an efficient band of a drummer, a bassist and his wife Morgan on vocals, he blasted his hit songs.
The crowd roared when he broke into extended guitar riffs. He showed no ill effects from a recent injury -- a broken bone and a detached tendon on his right index finger that required some physical therapy.
As he played his newest hit “Fire Away,” he paused and asked the crowd to join in.
“We will play a little softer, dim the lights. Take out your cell phones, hold them up and we will sing this chorus together," he said. "Sing it so someone you love who is hundreds of miles away can hear you.”
Kevin and Lisa Rotter live in Cedar Rapids. They drove seven hours to attend.
“We heard that Chris was going to be here and we wanted to see him. I have heard him on the radio and thought it would be nice to hear him live. Then we found out that Brothers Osborne were with him, so that is really cool,” Kevin said.
When Stapleton came on stage alone for an encore he thanked his fans for their support and said, “I’ve got time for a couple more if you do.”
When he picked up his acoustic guitar to sing and played his ballad, “Traveler” the arena turned into a dance floor as couples swayed to the music.
The band joined him for one last song and he treated the house to a 10-minute rocking blues guitar solo before the lights went down on the 2017 concert series.